If you search for child abuse on Bing - Microsoft will know

Microsoft’s Bing search engine has become the first in the world to introduce pop-up notifications for those who decide to seek out child abuse content including child pornography. The system will be launching in the United Kingdom first.

The new system will first notify users that they are searching for illegal content and offer details on available counseling services.

Yahoo, which uses Bing search results, says it may also be implementing a similar technology in the future. Google on the other hand, states that it will continue to report material, but has no plans to use pop-up notifications.

It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that Bing is now reacting to child abuse content searched in the UK, as the prime minister recently stated that companies needed to do more to block access to such images.

The Bing popup is only triggered by certain blacklist words compiled by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). A spokesman from Microsoft stated the purpose of the new pop up system is designed “to stop those who may be drifting towards trying to find illegal child abuse content on the web via search engines.”

Another spokesman commented on Microsoft’s past fight against child exploitation:

"Microsoft has been, and remains, a strong proponent of proactive action in reasonable and scalable ways by the technology industry in the fight against technology-facilitated child exploitation. We have teams dedicated globally to abuse reporting on our services and the development of new innovations to combat child exploitation more broadly."

The prime minister had requested a notification that would warn people about the consequences of searching out such content including “losing their job, their family, and even access to their children.”

Bing’s initiative is a positive step forward, but Google still holds an 88% share of the UK search engine market and until the Mountain View, California company jumps in on the notification warnings – they are will go unnoticed and be useless to 88% of the population.

Lastly, the UK government stated that Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Twitter would allow the Internet Watch Foundation to actively seek out abusive images; this movement was put into effect last month.

What do you think about Bing’s new popup notification system for child abuse content – is it enough?

Source: BBC

Michael Archambault